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Open Source NativeScript 6.0 Released for JavaScript-Based iOS, Android Development

Development tooling specialist Progress released NativeScript 6.0, a major update to its open source framework for creating native iOS and Android apps with JavaScript with 100 percent code reuse.

In addition to plain old JavaScript, NativeScript 6.0 supports development with Microsoft's TypeScript variant, the Angular platform and the Vue.js framework. What's more, NativeScript is furthering its Web development functionality, having reached 70 percent code reuse across Web and mobile projects.

Specifically, Progress said NativeScript 6.0 provides:

  • Support for Angular 8 and the new rendering engine, Ivy, for better files, compilation time and application performance
  • Full support for Vue.js, including feature parity for new functionality between Vue.js, Angular and Core frameworks as well as the use of all plugins developed for NativeScript
  • A new dark theme to coincide with the iOS dark mode that will be available with iOS 13
  • The ability to consume third-party libraries directly in iOS
  • The public release of the Hot Module Replacement (HMR) which includes support for SASS files and script changes in Vue.js, support for Angular projects out of the box, as well as acknowledgment of file operations like adding or deleting files from a project's structure.
  • Support for the new Android X library, enabling use of the latest features of the newest Android versions, when shipped
  • Faster delivery of patches using NativeScript AppSync
  • The NativeScript Core Theme working out of the box for all NativeScript components
  • A new and improved TabView that enables common scenarios without custom development

Progress also touted 30 percent faster builds for Android and 10 percent faster startup times for iOS in the new release, a Webpack-only development workflow and HMR on by default.

NativeScript Architecture
[Click on image for larger view.] NativeScript Architecture (source: Progress)

NativeScript comprises Core Modules, CLI (command-line interface), plugins and iOS and Android runtimes, which call native APIs via device-based JavaScript virtual machines (WebKit's JavaScriptCore implementation on iOS and V8 on Android.

"NativeScript provides a best-of-both-worlds development experience," states the GitHub site for NativeScript. "Our cross-platform JavaScript modules give you the convenience of writing iOS and Android apps from a single JavaScript codebase, while our runtimes give you the power of accessing native APIs, SDKs, and frameworks when you need them -- all without needing to open Xcode or Android Studio." The open source project has garnered more than 17,260 stars.

Going forward, the NativeScript roadmap shows the following features coming up in v61, planned for September release:

  • 2-factor authentication when publishing for iOS through the CLI
  • Publishing scoped packages in NPM in the @nativescript organization
  • Material Design components
  • Compatibility with Xcode 11, iOS 13 and Android API Level 29

A July 17 blog post provides more information on the new release.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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